Performance Feedback – I

I found here a funny analogy with performance feedback:

Question: What’s the difference between performance feedback and a root canal?

Answer: Anesthesia

During performance reviews, I’ve noticed two dominant reactions when receiving negative feedback:

  • Constructive – The receiver listens to the sender’s arguments (if the case, also bringing counter arguments) and he/she provides alternative scenarios, in order to ensure a complete understanding of the issue (if I were to do this differently, than the results would be better). To sum up, the focus is on improvement (finding the path from the current situation to the desired one).
  • Defensive – the receiver brings excuses for his/her failures, finding external factors to blame without taking any personal responsibility. The focus is now not on what he/she can do better but on what others should do in order for him to provide better results. Basically, you play a round of the blame game.

Premise: feedback, as a communication process involves two parties: the sender and the receiver.

Not only is it in the interest of both parties for the reaction to be a constructive one, but it also is in their power to achieve it.

To this effect I will focus on the role of each side in future posts.

LE.: Performance Feedback II – The Sender

LE 2: Performance Feedback III – The Receiver


Filed under People Management

2 responses to “Performance Feedback – I

  1. Pingback: Performance Feedback II – The sender « HR Perspective

  2. MC, you make some good points, but as you know this is easier said than done. Primarily because when the two participants in a review get in the room, all too often the employee is looking back at all the good stuff they’ve done over the year to justify a good (or any!) raise while the manager is looking forward at what the employee will be expected to accomplish in the coming twelve months. It’s no wonder a collision frequently ensues!

    My only bone to pick is your use of the phrase “negative feedback.” Any and all feedback should be framed and received as constructive, even when it’s not necessarily something that the employee wants to hear. You make these points in blog posts II & III but let’s be careful not to reinforce the notion of “negative” feedback.
    Only the best,

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